A little tour giving a last chance to catch False Lights in their 'Salvor' phase before they move onto what they constantly refer to as something "louder and weirder." The last night of the run at The Atkinson saw two thirds of the band stepping up to play the first half in their individual personae - quite a nice little idea and one which would go down a treat given the chance again.
Jim Moray and Sam Carter both made the most of the chance to plug and play something from their current albums - Sam's 'How The City Sings' surely a contender for some album of the year awards, while Jim's meisterwork, 'Upcetera' must be a sure fire odds on certainty to pick up some acclaim. His solo version of 'Sounds Of Earth' only whetted the appetite not just for the main attraction but for his upcoming little solo tour at the start of November and the promise of a gig at Liverpool Philharmonic next year with brass and strings bringing the whole album to life… However, it was the combo of Tom Moore and Archie Churchill-Moss, current melodeon deputy for Nick Cooke, whose lively sets of tunes probably edged it on the clapometer for the opening half.
The six piece False Lights full run through of the 'Salvor' album can't be sniffed at. Add 'Murder In The Red Barn' and ending the set with the triple whammy of the anthemic 'Crossing The Bar' before stepping off stage and into the audience for an unplugged 'How Can I Keep From Singing' before a chance to jump about a bit more and pull a few shapes with 'The Charlesworth Hornpipe'. There might have been the opportunity to road test any new material pencilled din for the second album but perhaps they aren't quite at that stage yet. However, the indications from the strength of the recent Carter / Moray offerings are that the two protagonists are bang in form and on a roll so with luck they can strike while the iron is hot. Obviously the 'louder and weirder' maxim will apply and from the stage set up, False Lights are definitely breaking the folk mould and daring to brandish their rock credentials. The glittery logo on the bass drum and Sam Carter brandishing a lovely red Gibson SG - the axe made famous by AC/DC's Angus Young - all symbolic of the unmistakeably raucous and enthusiastic vibe they take pleasure in creating. The variety swinging from their interpretation of the very trad. 'Wife Of Ushers Well' straight into the country roll and ramble of 'The Indian's Petition'. And then there's the more straightforward arrangement of the tale of the highwayman 'Tyne Of Harrow' complete with Sam Carter delivering on the Duane Eddy flavoured twanging solo.
And yes, while it's a set not to be sniffed at, like the opening salvo, it simply whets the appetite for whatever direction the False Lights journey takes them next. It might not be quite as challenging next time as the mould they set with 'Salvor' but you can bet with some certainty that there won't be any boundaries.
Mike Ainscoe - Words & Pictures
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